Your mail may be at risk depending on where you're placing it. The Topeka Police Department has received multiple reports of mail being stolen directly from mailboxes in Topeka.
In some cases these individuals were paying bills with personal checks...which is exactly what theives are looking for.
Times have certainly changed with .....thieves resorting to property crime.
The Topeka Police department has had multiple reports of stolen mail ...a crime they say is all too easy.
If you've got mail to send, give it to either carrier, put it in a blue mailbox...or go directly to the post office.
Mail theft is considered a felony and is happening all over the country not just Topeka.
Another way to protect yourself is to use gel ink pens when writing your checks this way it will smear and make the check useless.
Financial Crime release from the Topeka Police Department:
The Topeka Police Department has had multiple reports of mail taken from the mail box of different individuals who placed mail outside for the mail man to pick up. In some cases, these individuals were paying bills and these letters included personal checks. Unfortunately, there is a chemical that criminals can dip the checks into and it removes all writing, leaving a perfectly good blank check behind. Some of these checks have been used at casinos for thousands of dollars.
A simple solution is to go to Walmart, Office Max, etc. and buy the ball point pens that are specifically made to prevent tampering/removal. If the check is dipped in the solution it only leaves a big smear on the check rendering it useless.
When writing checks, dark colored ‘gel ink’ pens are considered the best. ‘Gel ink’ pens come in a variety of colors, but the dark blues and blacks are the best and hardest of the inks to be ‘washed’ by the criminal.
The Postal Service advises: There are some tips residents should be aware of to minimize exposure to mail thieves.
· Use the letter slots at your post office to mail letters, or give them to a letter carrier.
· Deposit mail in blue collection boxes before the last pick up time that appears on the schedule posted on each box.
· Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won't be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.
· Don’t send cash in the mail.
· Ask your bank for “secure” checks that can’t be altered.
· If you will be away from home for more than three days, ask the Post Office to hold your mail until you return. You can initiate a mail hold at the Post Office or online at USPS.com.
If you believe your mail was stolen, report it immediately to your local postmaster or a Postal Inspector. Postal Inspectors may determine whether your problem is isolated or part of a larger mail theft problem in your neighborhood--and it may help them locate and apprehend the thieves. (also file a report with your local law enforcement agency)
This is the time of year in which tax refund checks will be coming, and mail thefts generally go up. Keeping alert and reporting unusual or suspicious activity may save you or a neighbor from a future theft.